Fear in the classroom

Kabelo Dipholo
CONCERNED: BOSETU President Radikolo

‘Teachers living in terror as students unleash violence,’ warn BOSETU

A spate of violent attacks by students on teachers and fellow students has sent shivers down the spines of educators across the country.

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It has got so bad that some schools engaged heavy police escorts as Form Threes and Fives sat for their final papers.

In 2011, a teacher at Mmei Junior, in Monarch, Francistown was lucky to survive a stabbing by an angry pupil, while in a more recent incident in 2020, a teacher in Moshopa was brutally attacked by a student in a video that went viral on social media.

Other disturbing incidents have been recorded in Mahalapye, Goodhope, Mmadinare and Sefhare.

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In Kazungula, concerns are growing over the increasing number of kids smuggling drugs and weapons into school.

“Statistics are there; students brings knives and all sort of dangerous weapons to school,” said Councilor, Simasiku Matengu, speaking at a crime awareness workshop in Kazungula recently.

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In 2016, police rounded up 18 Gaborone Senior Secondary School (GSSS) students who threatened to beat up teachers and burn down school premises.

It is this type of anti-social behaviour that prompted Botswana Sectors of Educators Trade Union (BOSETU) President, Winston Radikolo to declare schools as ‘dangerous places’ for teachers.

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Speaking during the BOSETU Ntshegetse Exit Scheme awards in Palapye last week, Radikolo said violence in schools is skyrocketing.

“We receive reports of violence every day. It is either a student injuring a student or vice versa. Things that we used to see in certain places have now found their way into our schools, and this is a concern,” was his grim assessment.

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The BOSETU President further admitted he was worried for teachers’ safety even outside school premises.

“We no longer go to shops after 6pm because we fear our students. We used to fear snakes and scorpions, but today we live in fear of our students,” Radikolo said.

Addressing retired teachers, he urged them to do all in their power to assist in molding students, and help restore the decaying moral fiber within the community.

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